“Mummy, lie with me. I can’t sleep, I’m scared.”
The wind howls outside her windows, whispering things she does not wish to hear.
I am here. She joins me as I place my head at the foot of the bed. For the next little while we are too smart to try to trick sleep over here.
“It’s too noisy.” She passes me a supportive corner of her blanket.
“I think it’s cosy,” I say softly, relaxed. “Don’t you think it’s nice to be all snug in bed when it’s blowy outside?”
I hear her thinking.
“Doesn’t your favouritest ever movie start just like this? Maybe you’ll dream of waking in a strange new land, full of interesting characters and adventure?”
Branches sway nearby. Her silence is that of the unconvinced.
“I like to close my eyes and pretend the sounds are those of the sea, calming waves breaking on the shore.”
“Yes, let’s listen.”
“Mummy I don’t want to close my eyes and I don’t want you to go.”
“Okay, I have an idea. Will you play? I’m going to turn all the lights off and raise the blinds up a bit. We’ll let the lights in from the park and watch the patterns our Elm tree makes on your walls when she moves with the wind. Are you with me?”
“I would be scared if you weren’t here.”
“Oh it’ll be fun. Trees have to stand still all day, they only get to move at times like now. We should watch.”
We lie back and watch the shadow show. Rectangles of light project in a row around the room.
Overlayed by one another, mesmerising wisps dance like nymphs across each other before our eyes.
“Is it fire? Or are we underwater?”
“Underwater! I see seaweed swaying about.”
She jumps up from the bed and lifts a shade to see what lies beneath.
“Look Mummy! Pretty patterns… Are you proud of me?”
“Oh yes, I am.”